Carriers have a lot of documents to keep up with, but–from Hours-of-Service logs to vehicle inspection and maintenance records–each document serves an important purpose. And each could be requested by a government compliance official at any time. When these documents all live separately as PDFs or hard copies, it can be tough for carriers to put their hands on what they need when they need it.

Even worse, carriers could forget to fill out a vital piece of paperwork altogether. After all, trucking is an extremely demanding job, and anything can happen on the road. Yet both trucking companies and individual drivers are on the hook if the documentation is not up to date, organized, and ready to be shown as needed. Here is what you need to know about document management.

Consequences of poor document organization

Poorly organized and managed documents have a real cost to drivers as well as the trucking companies that employ them. Risks include:

Lower CSA ratings

The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program was developed by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to hold trucking companies accountable for maintaining safety standards. The program’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) updates each carrier’s rating once a month, using a variety of data. In addition to crashes and other incidents, your CSA rating is partially based on documentation of safe practices. This includes vehicle maintenance, Hazmat compliance, proof of insurance, and more.

If your drivers can’t put their hands on the right paperwork on request, their CSA scores could suffer. This puts your company at higher risk for further investigations by the FMCSA, which can be both time-consuming and expensive. In extreme cases, the FMCSA could even issue an out-of-service order, shutting your company down for a period.

Fines

Much of the paperwork that carriers handle is required by various governmental authorities. If it isn’t properly completed and filed promptly, fines, interest, and other penalties could apply. These tend to compound over time, making it extremely important to get your documentation organized as soon as possible.

Higher costs and lower profits

Much of the data CSA collects is public, and many shippers rely on this public data to choose trustworthy carriers. Poor documentation and low CSA ratings could cause shippers to choose another carrier. Over time, the loss of revenue could be significant. In addition, insurance carriers tend to consider CSA ratings when writing or renewing policies. You could end up paying significantly more in premiums and deductibles if your documentation is incomplete or disorganized.

Driver retention issues

Most truck drivers genuinely want to do their best. But you have to provide them with the right tools for the job. Truckers have so many other things to worry about, from long lines at loading docks to inclement weather. If you leave them to flounder, attempting to keep up with all paperwork regulations and storage requirements on their own, morale can go down. Eventually, they may decide to leave for a company that provides better back-office support.

How document management can help

A truck management system (TMS) is a software solution that streamlines and automates all aspects of your trucking business. A good TMS includes powerful document management capabilities, giving your drivers everything they need at their fingertips to file and maintain all relevant paperwork.

Carrier TMS document management solution

Loadsmart’s Carrier TMS is a full-scale truck management system with robust document management capabilities. Give your drivers the support they need with this automated solution that will revolutionize their document compliance and management abilities. Features include:

Invoicing

Creating invoices is a breeze with everything in one spot. It takes just a few clicks to produce an accurate, timely invoice for each load.

Driver statements

Your drivers will have all the information they need to keep up with their earnings with Carrier TMS’ customizable driver statements. Whether they’re paid by the mile, the hour, or as a percentage of the total load cost, it’s easy to provide statements for every load.

QuickBooks

No more flipping back and forth between multiple software solutions. The Kamion TMS is fully integrated with QuickBooks, allowing you to sync all data and invoice information with the touch of a button.

1099 reporting

If you use contract drivers instead of, or in addition to, company drivers, you know how much of a pain it can be to create 1099s each year. With Kamion’s integration and reporting capacities, providing accurate 1099s can be quick and painless.

IFTA reports

The International Fuel Tax Agreement, or IFTA, is a streamlined way for truck drivers to report their fuel taxes across the United States and Canada. Every three months, drivers report and pay their fuel taxes to whatever state the truck is registered in, and that state distributes the money appropriately. It’s simple in theory, but inaccurate record keeping or simple math errors can spell disaster. That’s because the report requires drivers to track their mileage and fuel purchases in each state or province, calculate their average miles per gallon, and even use a chart to determine how much fuel tax they owe each jurisdiction versus how much they paid.

The Kamion TMS makes all these calculations a thing of the past. Fully integrated with both fuel cards and electronic logging devices (ELDs), the TMS automatically tracks drivers’ mileage and lets them enter their fuel receipts as they go. When it’s time to file an IFTA report, just a few clicks ensure an accurate and timely filing.

Electronic copies of important records

It’s always a smart idea for truckers to carry copies of important employment records. These include, but are not limited to:

  • CDL license
  • Latest DOT physical exam
  • Most recent drug test
  • MVR (motor vehicle record) or driving history
  • PSP (pre-employment screening) report

Carrier TMS can store all these records and more. No more digging through piles of paperwork to find these employment documents. Drivers will always have what they need at their fingertips.

Learn more about creating a safe environment in our webinar, Come Out Winning with FMCSA Compliance Intervention.